Why Jackson natural choice to be top Dog
It didn't come as a shock when Dean Pay unveiled Josh Jackson as the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs captain on Wednesday night, but the events that followed were a big surprise.
The usually unflustered Jackson couldn't control his emotions.
In front of 150 of the club's friends and family, the Bulldogs tough guy melted. Those closest to him knew how much it meant, but not even they could believe what they saw when he choked back tears trying to express his pride in the role he had just been given.
"It was very, very emotional," Jackson told NRL.com after the announcement during the club's pre-season camp in Terrigal.
"I love the club. They've done a lot for me. They gave me my first opportunity and have always looked after me."
For Pay, who hadn't told Jackson or any of the players prior to the announcement, the reaction justified his decision.
"His raw emotion shows how much he cares about the place," Pay told NRL.com.
"It just confirmed my decision to give him the job. He is the right kid for the job. He typifies what we are at Canterbury. He's a hard-working kid. A very respectful and humble kid. He deserves the job.
"He just stood out to me right from the word go. Even before I had even come to the club, just from the outside looking in, I always admired the way he carried himself, the way he presented himself and the way he played."
It's important to note Jackson was one of former coach Des Hasler's closest confidants. They shared a close bond.
So when Jackson described this pre-season as the most rewarding and enjoyable build-up to a campaign of his career during his speech, those in the room at the Terrigal Crowne Plaza sat up and listened.
"I'll never say a bad word about Des because he was enormous for not only me and my career, but the club as well," Jackson said.
"He brought a lot of success to this club. I'll never say anything bad about Des. Change is sometimes good and it's hard to know until you've been through that change, but coming out the other side and just the change in itself and doing things differently with new ideas and thoughts, that's had a real impact."
Jackson isn't as vocal as his predecessor, James Graham, but he adopts a similar mentality in which actions speak louder than words.
He wants to be someone his teammates will follow. Someone that never gives up.
And someone hellbent on righting the wrongs of a year to forget at Belmore.
"We're not going to perform perfectly every game and not going to win every game," Jackson said.
"But as long as we're proud of what we do and make sure we're hard working and do everything we possibly can to win a game and never give up – I think that's the mentality the Bulldogs have always had. That's something we want to bring back."